7 Dumbbell Leg Exercises for Strong, Defined Legs (Video) (2024)

Lower Body Workouts

By: Lindsey Bomgren, CPT | February 14, 2024

Build defined, strong legs with this home workout: the best dumbbell leg exercises. Seven lower body exercises are combined in a strict-set format to build strength and muscle definition using a pair of dumbbells. Burn out every muscle in the lower body in just 25 minutes.

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Burn out your legs with the seven best dumbbell leg exercises, combined in a muscle-building strict set format.

Each lower body exercise is repeated back-to-back, fatiguing the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and thighs and leading to muscle growth.

Add these exercises to your home leg workouts to build muscle definition, increase strength, and burn fat.

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Dumbbell Leg Exercises FAQs

Can You Build Legs With Dumbbells?

Dumbbells are an effective tool for building lower body muscles at home or at the gym. Dumbbells are extremely versatile, and can be used to target the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and thighs. Each dumbbell leg exercise can be scaled up or down by increasing or decreasing the dumbbell weight.

What Are The Best Dumbbell Leg Exercises?

The squat (and squat variations, such as the air squat, barbell squat, goblet squat or dumbbell squat) is one of the best leg exercises. This compound leg exercise engages multiple muscles in the lower body at once, making it an efficient way to build muscle in the entire lower body.

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25-Minute Dumbbell Leg Workout

Build lower body strength and muscle definition at home with these dumbbell leg exercises.

A complete leg day workout targeting every muscle group in the lower body: the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and thighs.

Add this lower body workout to yourhome workout plan 1-2 times per week to build and maintain strength in the lower body.

Workout Equipment:

Medium to Heavy Set of Dumbbells. I recommend between 5-30 lbs depending on your fitness level. We used 15 and 20 lb dumbbells in today’s workout. Option to drop weights at any time and do this workout with just your body weight.

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Workout Instructions:

Follow along with theguided Dumbbell Leg Workout on YouTube,led by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren.

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 7 Dumbbell Leg Exercises At Home
  • Timed Intervals (30 seconds of work per exercise, followed by 15 seconds of rest)
  • Strict Sets (repeat each move x2 back-to-back before moving on to the next exercise)

Workout Outline

  1. Heels Up Goblet Squat
  2. Split Lunge
  3. Deadlift and Calf Raise
  4. Curtsy Lunge and Lateral Lunge
  5. B-Stance Squats
  6. Staggered Deadlift, Clean and Front Squat
  7. Dumbbell Glute Bridge

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Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

7 Dumbbell Leg Exercises for Strong, Defined Legs (Video) (7)Leg Workout

7 Best Leg Exercises At Home

Heels Up Goblet Squat

Targets:Leg muscles, quads, glutes, hamstrings, inner thighs (hip abductors), chest and core.

Elevating the heels shifts more of the work into the quads, or the front of the leg above the knees.

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How To Do Heels Up Goblet Squats

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Elevate your heels by placing them on a set of dumbbells or sturdy books. Hold a dumbbell vertically at your chest (goblet hold).
  2. Inhale as you bend your knees and sit your hips back (as if sitting down in a chair). Aim for 90 degree bends at each knee, focusing on pushing your knees out (not letting them cave in). Keep your torso in an upright position.
  3. Exhale as you press through your heels to stand tall, driving your hips forward to return to standing position.

Modification:Perform this move with feet flat on the floor (standard goblet squat).

Split Lunge

Targets:Legs, quads, hamstrings, butt and calves.

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How To Do Split Lunges

  1. Stand with feet hip-distance apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides.
  2. Step your right leg back into a reverse lunge, dropping your right knee down towards the ground as you lower your hips. Both knees are bent at 90-degree angles, front thigh is parallel to the floor.
  3. Exhale, squeezing your left glute and keeping the weight in your left heel as you push up, returning to standing position.

Modification:Hold one dumbbell horizontally at your chest, or do this exercise with just your bodyweight

Deadlift and Calf Raise

Targets:The posterior chain or backside of the body. Specifically targeting the hamstrings, glutes, hips and calves.

Calf exercises, such as the calf raise, are an excellent way to improveankle mobilityand reduce knee pain.

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How To Do Deadlifts and Calf Raises

  1. Start standing feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your body (overhand grip, palms face your body).
  2. Hinge forward at the hips, pushing your hips back as you lower the dumbbells down along the front of your body. You should feel a stretch in the back of your legs (hamstrings). Focus on keeping your back in neutral alignment with your neck and shoulders throughout the entire movement. Keep a slight bend in your knees to avoid ‘locking out’ the joint.
  3. Drive through your heels to push your hips forward; squeezing your glutes as you return to a standing position.
  4. Once standing, lift your heels off the mat, transferring your weight to the balls of your feet (toes), performing a calf raise.
  5. Lower your heels back to the mat with control, to return to the starting position.

Curtsy Lunge and Lateral Lunge

Targets:Gluteus medius (outer glute that controls hip movement and side-to-side movements), quads, inner thighs (or hip adductors), hamstrings, calves and core.

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How To Do Curtsy Lunges and Lateral Lunges

  1. Start standing with feet hip-distance apart, holding a dumbbell in your left hand.
  2. Step your left leg back into a curtsy lunge, lowering your left knee to the mat behind your right calf. Lower your hips until both knees reach a 90-degree angle, front thigh parallel to the floor.
  3. Then squeeze your right glute, driving your left leg forward as you stand up. As you stand, clean the dumbbell up to shoulder height, catching it at your left shoulder.
  4. Step your left leg out to the side, finding a wide stance. Push your hips back, bending your left knee while leaving your right leg straight. Think of performing a single leg squat with your left leg.
  5. Then, drive off your left foot to reverse the movement, exploding back to center and stepping your left leg back into a curtsy lunge.

B-Stance Squat

Targets:Legs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, lower back and core.

The “B-Stance” squat variation is an excellent way to train unilaterally (or single-sided) with the benefit of balance support from the back toes.

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How To Do B-Stance Squats

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold one dumbbell vertically at your chest (goblet hold).
  2. Step your left foot back, staggering your feet and popping your left heel off the mat. Pivot your toes 45 degrees away from your body, finding a “b-stance”. Think about keeping 80% of your weight in your front heel and 20% of your weight in your back toes.
  3. Inhale as you bend your knees and sit your hips back (as if sitting down in a chair). Aim for 90 degree bends at each knee, focusing on pushing your knees out (not letting them cave in). Keep your torso in an upright position.
  4. Exhale as you press through your heels to stand tall, driving your hips forward to return to standing position.

Staggered Deadlift, Clean and Front Squat

Targets:Lower body, glutes, hamstrings, hips, quads, calves, trapezius, deltoids, lower back, abs and core.

One of the best dumbbell exercises for building strength in every muscle in the lower body.

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How To Do Staggered Deadlifts, Dumbbell Cleans and Front Squats

  1. Start standing feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Slightly stagger your feet, stepping your left leg behind your right. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand in front of your body.
  2. Hinge forward at the hips, pushing your hips back as you lower the dumbbell down along the front of your body. You should feel a stretch in the back of your legs (hamstrings). Focus on keeping your back in neutral alignment with your neck and shoulders throughout the entire movement. Keep a slight bend in your knees.
  3. Then, drive through your heels to push your hips forward, squeezing your glutes as you return to a standing position.
  4. As you press your hips forward to stand up, “clean” the dumbbell up towards your shoulders. Catch the dumbbell at your chest in a front rack position.
  5. Then, bend your knees to lower down into a squat, pushing your knees out as you drop your hips parallel to your knees.
  6. Drive through the heels to stand up, returning to starting position.

Dumbbell Glute Bridge (Frog Glute Bridge)

Targets:Gluteus maximus (large glute muscles), gluteus medius (side butt muscles or outer glute muscles), and gluteus minimus (hip extension).

A frog glute bridge limits the use of the hamstrings and erectors (a lower back muscle) to isolate the glute muscles.

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How To Do Dumbbell Glute Bridges

  1. Lie flat on your back and bend your knees, making a 90-degree angle with your legs, feet on the mat.
  2. Press the soles of your feet together and let your thighs fall open. Externally rotating the hips (heels together and knees out).
  3. Squeeze the glutes to lift the hips off the mat. Think of performing a shallow hip thrust.
  4. Hold at the top of the movement for a moment, tucking the pelvis under. Then slowly lower your hips with control back down to a hover position (glutes hovering off the mat) and repeat the movement.

Modification: Perform standard glute bridges or hip thrusts with both feet pressed into the ground.

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7 Dumbbell Leg Exercises for Strong, Defined Legs (Video) (2024)

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